Blue light exposure enhances neural efficiency of the task positive network during a cognitive interference task

William D.S. Killgore, Natalie S. Dailey, Adam C. Raikes, John R. Vanuk, Emily Taylor, Anna Alkozei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Exposure to light, particularly blue-wavelength light, has been shown to acutely increase brain activation, alertness, and some elementary aspects of cognitive performance such as working memory and emotional anticipation. Whether blue light exposure can have effects on brain activation and performance during more complex cognitive control tasks up to 30 min after light cessation is unknown. In a sample of 32 healthy adults, we examined the effects of a 30 min exposure to either blue (n = 16) or amber control (n = 16) light on subsequent brain activation and performance during the Multi-Source Interference Task (MSIT) measured a half-hour after light exposure. Performance on the MSIT did not differ between the blue and amber conditions. However, brain activation within the task positive network (TPN) to the interference condition was significantly lower in the blue relative to the amber condition, while no group differences were observed for suppression of the default mode network (DMN). These findings suggest that, compared to control, a single exposure to blue light was associated with enhanced neural efficiency, as demonstrated by reduced TPN activation to achieve the same level of performance. Blue light may be an effective method for optimizing neurocognitive performance under some conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135242
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Sep 14 2020


  • Blue light exposure
  • Default mode network
  • MSIT
  • Multi-Source Interference Task
  • Neural efficiency
  • Neuroimaging
  • Task positive network
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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